BY: John Mamola
Scottie Wilbekin led his Florida Gators to a tough win on the road in Lexington at Rupp Arena as Florida defeated Kentucky 69-59. With the win, the Gators remain undefeated (12-0) in conference play and deliver only the third loss in 84 games at Rupp Arena when John Calipari was the head coach of Kentucky.
The Gators had as rough a time getting into the game as any opponent would walking into a sold out Rupp Arena in Lexington. The Gators shooting struggled in the first half only hitting on 33% of their shots, including only one three point basket on their first nine attempts. Casey Prather carried the Gators in the first half with his first 12 points of the game, and Florida only trailed by three at the midway point when things could have been much worse for the Gators. The teams would trade runs and leads in the second half as the tournament feel to the game reached its full potential down the stretch. After a controversial technical foul on Kentucky head coach John Calipari while Kentucky held a two point advantage, the Gators turned it on late and outscored the SEC’s highest scoring team 22-11 to close out the game. The Wildcats never saw the lead again following the technical foul on their head coach.
Wilbekin was key down the stretch for the Gators scoring 19 of his 25 points in the second half, including 11-12 from the charity stripe. Prather led the Gators with 24 points, and Patric Young added 10 points although he struggled from the field only converting four of his eleven shots.
The Gators shot 44% for the game but struggled from three point range shooting 3-13. The Gators limited the best offensive rebounding team to only nine while Florida notched ten offensive boards.
The Gators have now won 17 games in a row, this one the biggest in front of 24,445 at the Rupp which is a season high for Kentucky and the sixth highest attendance in Kentucky school history. Florida will look to continue their winning ways at home on Wednesday hosting Auburn. Catch all the action on WDAE beginning at 6:25pm with a 7:00pm tipoff